March 14, 2023 Live from the road

Canberra, ACT

Reported by Abhijatri Robinson, Prachar Stegemann 20.0 km

During the recent pandemic, it was not possible to run from one country to another, so the concept was born to "Run Around the World" in a symbolic way – by carrying the Peace Torch from one Embassy to another within Canberra, thus connecting all the countries – like a distilled version of our global Peace Run.

Unfortunately, with Canberra also going into lockdown, it was not possible to realise this idea in action – until now.

With so many Embassies and High Commissions eager to participate, our runners formed two teams to be able to include all nations in one morning.

The Southern team gathered early at the statue of Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy at Yarralumla Bay, to meditate for a few moments before starting the run to the Vatican Nunciate.

The statue was bathed in morning dew.

Today was a special day, a coda following the conclusion of our Peace Run in Australia from Brisbane to Canberra. It felt as if we were now running around the world. With confirmations from 30 diplomatic delegations that they would receive the Peace Run Team during the day, we were faced with quite a logistical challenge.

Our plan was for our Southern and Northern Teams to visit different embassies and high commissions through the morning, and join together for the last few in Yarralumla. All the participating nations were then invited to a Closing Ceremony and lunch at the Canberra Rotary Peace Bell in Lennox Gardens – not far from our starting point.

It was a beautiful cool morning with a few clouds: perfect running conditions.

Susan Marshall ran the first stretch from the Statue through Deakin and Red Hill, but as she was the main organiser for the day's itinerary, she was often running and talking on her phone simultaneously!

When we arrived at the Apostolic Nunciature (the Vatican Embassy in Canberra), Prachar set off with a second Torch to run to the Qatar Embassy on the other side of Red Hill in O'Malley, a distance of about 5 km. The team would follow in the van and hopefully meet up again – "See you at Qatar."

At the gate of the Apostolic Nunciature.

We were warmly greeted at the Apostolic Nunciature by Monsignor Jean Baptiste Itaruma. He loved the whole idea of the Peace Run and said that the Catholic Church were also involved in many Peace Programs. He was very interested in what we do on the Peace Run.

Monsignor Jean Baptist is from Tanzania. Abhijatri Robinson (South Africa), who is seen here holding the torch, went to Tanzania on the Peace Run and shared some stories of the Peace Run in Tanzania. Monsignor Jean Baptist's first post was in Zimbabwe where Abhijatri grew up.

Here Sister Mary, who is from Vietnam, also makes a wish for peace.

Monsignor Jean Baptiste and Sister Mary joined the team in running with the torch!

Meanwhile Prachar Stegemann had just arrived at the Qatar Embassy. He was hosted by His Excellency, Mr Saad Al-Shareef, Ambassador of the State of Qatar, in his executive office.

His Excellency very kindly offered Prachar a cup of Arabian coffee and several gifts.

They then came downstairs to an outdoors courtyard. We were very impressed to learn that the Ambassador himself runs 15 kilometres every day!

Harashita Sunaoshi from Japan, presented a certificate of appreciation and thank you card signed by the whole team, to His Excellency.

Already behind schedule, while Prachar and friends were being graciously entertained at Qatar, a few peace runners formed a sub-team and ran ahead to meet Mr. Stanley Samuel Famiah (Minister-Counsellor/Head of Chancery) at the Ghana Embassy.

He joined us for a run a few hundred metres up the hill.

We also met his next door neighbour at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia.

Our Qatar and Ghana streams then merged at the Embassy of North Macedonia, where we were warmly welcomed by Dr Viktorija Chavkoska, Deputy Head of Mission.

She joined us to run up the hill to the Nepalese Embassy.

Dr Chavkoska was very inspired to hold and run with the Peace Torch. She had previously worked for former President of the Republic of Macedonia, Boris Trajkovski, who had been a tireless worker for peace and personal friend of Sri Chinmoy, founder of the Peace Run.

Dr Chakovska handed the torch over to His Excellency Mr Kailash Raj Pokharel, Ambassador of Nepal at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Nepal.

His Excellency Mr Kailash Raj Pokharel carried the torch with us to the Georgia Embassy just up the road ...

... where he handed the torch over to Mr Mikheil Patashuri (Counsellor for the Embassy of Georgia).

It was a very busy day - here Prachar is taking a call from the Embassy of Vietnam as we leave the Georgian Embassy.

Somehow, the page with Vietnam was missing from our printed itinerary, and they were wondering where we were. Fortunately, at that moment the team was only 600 metres from the Vietnam Embassy, so we were able to hastily rearrange our immediate schedule and alter our GPS coordinates.

Meanwhile, across town, another Torch was lit, and our Northern Team swung into action...

Costa Rica! Connie Romero received the Torch on behalf of His Excellency Mr Armando Vargas Araya.

It was a short jog through Civic to our next destination ...

... where the Deputy Head of the Latvian Mission, Ieva Apine accepted the Torch on behalf of Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Margers Krams.

At the Latvian Mission.

Crossing Lake Burley Griffin, our next several visits were in the suburb of Barton, not far from Parliament House. Here the team arrives at the Embassy of Argentina.

Deputy Head of Argentinian Mission, Carolina Petryzyn with EA Claudia Mastronardi, greeted the team on behalf of His Excellency Mr Maximo Gowland. With 3 Spanish speakers on our team, we were well equipped to converse with all the South and Central American embassies!

It was not far to run to the Colombian Embassy ...

... where we were greeted by the Ambassador, Her Excellency Ms Diana Carvajal with Administrative Assistant, Kelly Agudelo.

Inside the Embassy of Colombia ...

... where the Colombian Ambassador kindly invited us all in for Colombian coffee! Our own Colombian representative, Liana Tribaquira is seated next to the Ambassador.

Next stop – Guatemala! One of our Guatemalan runners, Fatima Caal presents the Torch to Counsellor Alan Escobevo, accompanied by 1st Secretary Counsellor Luis Zetena.

The Zambian Delegation that met with the Peace Runners, from left to right: Charles Mucholo (First Secretary Press), His Excellency Dr Elias Munshya (Head of Mission), Ms Joyce Katenga (Second Secretary PA to the High Commissioner), Ms Carole Tolopa (Second Secretary - Finance), Esther Banda, and Ms Anna Lupenga (Deputy High Commissioner).

High Commissioner of Zambia, His Excellency Dr Elias Munshya ran with the team to the Embassy of Peru.

His Excellency Dr Elias Munshya and First Secretary Press, Mr Charles Mucholo.

Running all the way to Peru, the Torch is presented to...

... Deputy Head of the Peruvian Mission, Mr Ivan Silva Rivera.

Mr Rivera met the team on behalf of His Excellency Mr Vitaliano Gasper Gallardo Valencia.

Now in Yarralumla, Samoan High Commission Representative, Reupena J Matauiau receives the Peace Torch from peace runner Gabriel Quintana, on behalf of Her Excellency Ms Hinauri Petana.

Meanwhile, still in O'Malley, the Southern Team's next visit was to the Malta High Commission. Here His Excellency Mr Mario Farrugia Borg kindly met us accompanied by the Deputy High Commissioner, Ms. Gail Demanuele.

We were very happy to make good our promise to visit the Vietnamese Embassy and meet the Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Tat Thanh Nguyen.

Vietnamese Embassy staff member Kien Le joined our Mongolian team member, Sarankhuu Jargal on the run to the nearby Mongolian Embassy.

At the Embassy of Mongolia, Sarankhuu stepped from behind the camera to hold the torch with the Mission Second Secretary, Mr Munkhbayar Erdenejav.

At the Chile Embassy we met the Head of Mission, His Excellency Mr Jaime Chomali. We were very grateful that some of the other mission members including Mrs Maria Fernanda Gomez Astudillo (First Secretary) could hold the torch and offer their prayer for peace.

Here Harashita presents our certificate of appreciation to His Excellency Mr Jaime Chomali.

From Chile we traveled to the Venezuelan Embassy where the Head of Mission, Ambassador Dr Daniel David Gasparri Rey, held the Peace Torch in front of a statue of National Hero Simon Bolivar.

While we were at the Chilean and Venezuelan Embassies, Prachar had run with the second Torch around Red Hill to Deakin and to the Botswana High Commission. When he arrived he was enthusiastically met by many of the Botswana High Commission Team.

Here Abhijatri Robinson greets the Head of Mission, Her Excellency Ms Dorcas Kobela Makgato and hands her the Torch. Abhijatri had visited Botswana on a number of occasions with the Peace Run and explained how schools in Botswana had been wonderful hosts of the Peace Run.

Here the Botswana High Commission members holding the torch include Nikki Sefton, Ofentsa Letabela, Arlene Carcuera, Marie Lladueras, Punam Mallik, Collen Diane and Tibelelo Bareki.

At the Fiji High Commission we were met by Embassy representative Mr Ritesh Chand (Accounts and Administration Officer).

Paramananda presented a certificate of appreciation from the Peace Runners.

Prachar was meanwhile again running ahead with the second Torch the 4km to Yarralumla...

... where, at the Ecuador Embassy we were graciously greeted by the Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Victor Arturo Cabrera Hidalgo.

Ecuador is playing an important role for world peace as it is presently a member of the Security Council at the United Nations.

From the Embassy of Ecuador we ran across to the Indian High Commission where both our Southern and Northern teams converged, to be met by a large and enthusiastic delegation.

A number of members of the Indian High Commission then donned Peace Run T-shirts and joined our team to run with us to the remaining embassies that on our itinerary. Here we pose for a photo in front of their beautiful High Commission building.

Capt. Akhilesh Menon (Defence Advisor), Ms. Ruchika Jain (First Secretary) and Ms. Chandrakanta Rathore (First Secretary) officially received the Peace Run and graciously thanked the team for visiting the Indian High Commission.

Capt. Akhilesh Menon, Mr. Harjeet Sethi, Mr. Gurdev Singh, Mr. Vivek Gaurav, Mr. Ajay Kumar, Mr. Yogesh Kumar and Mr. Abhishek Sondhi joined the team to run to the Belgium Embassy.

At the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Julien Lecomte welcomes the team at the gate.

The torch is carried in and handed over to Mr Julien Lecomte by our new Indian team members!

Harita Davies didn't neglect to mention how much we all love Belgian chocolate.

Our next stop was at the High Commission of Malaysia where we we greeted by the Acting High Commissioner, Mr Abu Hirzan Mustapa.

Our Indian Team members were still with us and had very quickly learned how things were done on a Peace Run.

Our mega team now all ran to the Embassy of Finland ...

... where we met embassy staff members Saska Suvikas and Ryan Hemingway.

The whole team posed for a photo with Saska Suvikas outside the Embassy building, which Finland shares with Estonia.

From there we ran down the hill to the Papua New Guinea High Commission.

The team ran right past the Embassy of Brazil, which we had hoped to visit but a scheduling issue made it unlikely they could see us today.

At the Papua New Guinea High Commission, the torch was received by Mrs Morgan Jan Pehara, the Second Secretary of the High Commission.

Mrs Pehara was accompanied by Third Secretary, Mrs Lucy Kila, who had made the arrangements for the team's visit.

Papua New Guinea boast one of the most striking and beautiful diplomatic buildings in all of Canberra: we happily posed as a team at their gate.

Further down the hill, past the Canadian High Commission, we arrived at ...

... the New Zealand High Commission, where the Peace Torch was received on behalf of the embassy by Matthew De Witt (First Secretary).

Now 10 minutes ahead of schedule, and having just received a timely phone call that Brazil could indeed meet with our team, Matthew readily joined us for the run back up the hill to the Brazil Embassy.

At the Brazil Embassy we met with Katia Machado, PA to the Ambassador, who loved the whole idea of the Peace Run and was asking how to become a team member.

Team member Ashirvad Zaiantchick, who is also from Brazil, holds the torch with Katia.

From the Brazil Embassy the team ran back down past New Zealand down to nearby Lennox Gardens and our final destination, the Canberra Rotary Peace Bell in the Canberra Nara Peace Park.

Until today our team member Naraa didn't know that a whole Peace Park was named after her!

Here various participants were given the opportunity to ring the Peace Bell, which had been kindly set up and arranged for the occasion by members of the Rotary Club.

Struck with a swing of a large suspended wooden pole, the bell peals with a sonorous call, which is heard across the lake.

Representatives of numerous countries sounded the bell.

New Zealand...







ACT Peace Run coordinator, Prachar Stegemann expressed his gratitude to all in attendance.

The diplomatic representatives of each country present were invited to say a few words.

Peace Run Queensland Coordinator, Amalendu Edelsten who had organised the Opening Ceremony in Brisbane a few weeks earlier, was on hand for the journey's close.

The team sang two songs, the "Peace Run Song" and "A New World of Peace", both composed by Peace Run Founder Sri Chinmoy.

Ms Sonuç Eren (Second Secretary) Embassy of the Republic of Turkiyë holds the Peace Torch and makes a wish for peace.

Mikheil Patashuri, counsellor and Vakhtang Makaridze, Counsellor, Embassy of Georgia, with Gabriel Quintana from the Peace Run team.

All the New Zealanders.

Today the Peace Torch was carried between 30 diplomatic missions to Australia. Sri Chinmoy, founder of the Peace Run, described the international community as a garland of nations. This poetic nuance captures our experience of the many uniquely fragrant qualities of humanity’s heart we found in each country represented. Qualities that, when working together in peace and harmony, we can view as different windows into our own world.

We offer our gratitude to each of the dignitaries and diplomatic staff who contributed their expression of peace towards today's "Around the World" relay.

Torch carried by
Abhijatri Robinson (South Africa), Amalendu Edelsten (Australia), Ashirvad Zaiantchick (Brazil), Balarka Robinson (South Africa), Fatima Caal Caal (Guatemala), Gabriel Quentana (Guatemala), Gesiane Nascimento (Brazil), Harita Davies (New Zealand), Liana Tibaquira (Colombia), Narantuya Batsaihan (Mongolia), Paramananda . (Indonesia), Prabuddha Nicol (Australia), Prachar Stegemann (Australia), Sarankhuu Jargal (Mongolia), Stacey Marsh (New Zealand), Susan Marshall (New Zealand).  
Abhijatri Robinson, Harita Davies, Narantuya Batsaihan, Sarankhuu Jargal
The torch has travelled 20.0 km in Canberra, ACT.

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